At the time of the Domesday Book the manor of Pendrym, which included much of the site of modern-day East Looe, was held by William the Conqueror as part of his own demesne and came to be managed by the Bodgrugan (Bodrigan) family. Land across the river belonged to the manors of Portalla (or Portallant) and Portbyhan (variously spelt Portbyan, Porthbyghan, Porthpyghan, among others).
Shutta, on the steep hillside over East Looe, is known to have been inhabited by the twelfth century. At some time between 1154 and 1189 a charter was granted by Henry II to Sir Henry Bodrugan for the town of East Looe. West Looe was given free borough status sometime after this (the first known historical mention of the town dates from 1327) and in the 1230s East Looe gained the right to hold a weekly market and a Michaelmas fair.
Looe has a beautiful beach
where we sat in the sunshine for a while before making our way to have lunch, which we had in a pub overlooking the harbour.
Leaving Looe behind we made our way to the unspoilt fishing village of Polperro, a picturesque place which is understanbly an artists haunt.
Smuggling is understood to have prospered since Polperro developed as a port in the 12th century. It reached its zenith in the late 18th century when Britain's wars with America and France precipitated the high taxation of many imported goods, making it worthwhile for the local fishermen to boost their income by the covert importation of spirits, tobacco and other goods from Guernsey.
Much of the success of the smuggling trade through Polperro is ascribed to the influence of Zephaniah Job (1749–1822), a local merchant who became known as "The Smuggler's Banker". A more organised Coast Guard service was introduced in the 19th century along with stiff penalties, and led to much less smuggling.
Whilst the Coast Path is maintained by the National Trust, the foreshore belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall.
I was really enjoying the quaintness of Polperro then suddenly, just after I took the above photo, I felt a thump on my back only to discover that a seagull had very kindly dumped it's load all over the back of my coat and white pants! I quickly popped into the local pub to try to wipe the mess up, only marginally succeeding. Oh well, it's supposed to be lucky isn't it? I decided to play Bingo at the hotel that night to test the theory and guess what? It's not true cos I didn't win!
Apart from the episode with the seagull we thoroughly enjoyed our day.
Join me next time for Torquay Part 3.